Video on demand startup iROKOtv expands to East Africa


Online television startup iROKOtv will be opening up its doors to Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in the following week. The move comes as part of the company’s transition to focus more on the local African audiences as opposed to its diaspora.

Originally based in London, UK and Lagos, Nigeria, founder of iROKOtv Jason Njoku explains the massive market potential in East Africa, pointing out that the active payment penetration as well as the internet data are significantly cheaper than in other markets.

“Payment isn’t an issue in East Africa. Data is significantly cheaper. For Internet TV, these are the basic building blocks required to build a sizeable subscriber base. GOtv went from 2 000 subscribers in March 2012 to 817 000 in March 2014,” says Njoku.

Launched in 2011 and having raised over US$21-million since, the company is often referred to as the Netflix of Africa and is one of the most well-funded tech companies on the continent. Its most recent round of investment — US$8-million in December 2013 — came from Tiger Global, with further participation from Swedish Kinnevik and US Rise Capital.

As covered by Ventures Africa, iROKOtv would be going through a transitional phase of building a larger local African audience. So far, the company has been extremely popular with the African diaspora with 50% of its viewers in the UK and the US.

Njoku says, “I am really excited about 2014, as it’s a massively transitional year for the company. We finally have settled on the hard way ahead. (We expect to lose something like 95% of our traffic before the year’s out). Now we just need to execute.”

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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